By Lisa Leath Turpin, Health and Fitness Coach
Good health should be a family affair. Children learn and develop from what they see their parents do. When parents practice a healthy lifestyle, the children are more likely to follow. The key to developing lifelong healthy fitness habits is to start young. Your children can also get a head start on sports and Physical Education if they already understand and have good exercise habits. Being active is important for proper bone growth, muscle development and brain function. Exercise strengthens the heart, keeps arteries and veins clear, strengthens the lungs, reduces blood sugar levels, controls weight, and helps give a better outlook on life. Exercising together is the ultimate bonding activity for families especially in a world where electronics and technology cause disconnect and isolation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, about one-third of American children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese, and fewer than 25% of children get the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day recommended by the American Medical Association.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) beautifully names the top 10 reasons why children should exercise (acefitness.org/education-and-resources). I have combined into five reasons:
• Children who are active 60 minutes per day demonstrate lower rates of obesity.
• Greater rates of activity in children have been associated with higher test scores in reading and math. Frequent physical activity is also associated with improved behavior in the classroom and beyond.
• Physical (body) and cognitive (brain) development go hand-in-hand. While this continues for life, this relationship is most critical at a young age. When kids are active, their brains develop, allowing for new types of activity. Aerobic activity is shown to increase the size of essential brain structures and number of neural connections.
• Frequent activities requiring a high degree of balance and coordination have been associated with improved emotional response.
• Frequent exercise decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety in children. Regular exercise with children promotes self-efficacy with regard to health and self-image.
• A family that exercises together stays together! This August, put down the iPad and iPhone, hop on a bike or put on your hiking boots and get going. If your kid is old enough, go to the gym together. Here in Destin join beach boot camps or utilize our pristine waters and go paddle-boarding or surfing. The benefits are priceless!
Be Active 850!